Gateway opens to Queensland’s biggest race
A NEW race providing a ticket into the Stradbroke Handicap and the switch of the Grand Prix Stakes from winter will headline a beefed-up Queensland summer racing carnival this year.
Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club will on Monday announce the introduction of The Gateway, a new $250,000 1400m race for four-year-olds only to be run at Eagle Farm on December 14.
The winner will be exempt from the ballot for next year's Group 1 Stradbroke.
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It is the first of three consecutive Saturdays at Eagle Farm in December.
The following week will see the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes revert to the summer, with the purse increased from $150,000 to $250,000 and also doubling as the final of the 3YO Eagle Way Stayers Series, the heats of which will all be worth $105,000.
December 28 is the Road to the Magic Millions Raceday, with five black-type races and four chances to win a wildcard into the fields for $10 Million MM Day on January 11.
Prizemoney increases on this day include the B.J. McLachlan Stakes going to $250,000, the Nudgee Stakes to $200,000 and the Vo Rogue Plate up to $300,000.
The Origin Jockey Series will be run over two days on December 13 (Doomben) and December 14, with the Friday Doomben meeting also hosting the Phelan Ready and Calaway Gal Stakes ($125,000 each) for the two-year-olds.
The Summer Carnival is scheduled to commence at the Sunshine Coast on November 16, run for nine weeks and include 22 black-type races.
It is expected the Gold Coast meeting held the week before Magic Millions will be the beneficiary of several prizemoney boosts and potentially a new race or two, but those changes are yet to be unveiled.
The announcement comes after a protracted period of negotiations between Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club.
"We've worked collaboratively with Racing Queensland on this schedule and we thank them for their co-operation and their commitment to a format that offers so much," BRC chairman Neville Bell said.
"This is exciting for our local industry because it provides real pathways for our local owners and trainers to achieve feature race wins in Brisbane with strong prizemoney on offer."
RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell said the summer carnival was "rapidly emerging" and noted The Gateway and increased purses for three-year-old sprinters and stayers as highlights.
"We're not done yet and we look forward to sharing further enhancements in the near future," he said.